Following This Weekend’s March, 500 Women Got Together to Learn How to Run For Office
No experience necessary.
In the days following the Women’s March on Washington and the hundreds of sister marches around the world, millions of protestors are now (hopefully) asking, “What’s next?” Because yes, the marches were an important display of dissent, but for those who cared enough to take to the streets, our job isn’t done after one magical afternoon.
So what is next? What are you doing to continue this work? (Those 100 Days of Action is a decent jumping off point.)
For at least 500 women, their next step was a big one. That’s how many attended the “Ready to Run” political candidate training in Washington D.C. the day after the march. The event was hosted by EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics (specifically pro-choice Democratic candidates). Because it’s one (valid, definitely important!) thing to call your Senators. It’s another thing to set yourself on the path to becoming that Senator.
The EMILY’s List website explains why it’s so important to see more women entering into that arena, at all levels:
Local offices are ground zero for legislation aimed at stripping our rights, disenfranchising progressive voters, and ensuring a Republican majority for generations. We need to stop it. We need women running for every office at every level. We need you talking to your neighbors, organizing your communities, debating your opponents, changing the conversation — and winning.
One of the biggest hurdles for anyone, but especially minorities and otherwise marginalized groups entering into politics for the first time, is the lack of confidence that comes with a lack of experience. Of course, as Donald Trump has proven, experience is no longer a requisite for a successful political career.
The almost-majority of voters made it clear in this last election that they wanted someone that wasn’t an experienced politician, but rather a voice that represented real people. (And then, bafflingly, chose to believe the corrupt billionaire who told them he was a just a regular person—an outsider!—who actually understood and cared about the needs of “real people.”)
But what if that opened the door for actual “real people” to rise up as voices that really do represent their constituents? As one attendee at the event put it,
This election taught me that you really don’t have to have a long resume to run and to win… It’d be nice to have voices in Congress and in state legislatures and on school boards and on city councils that represent their constituents, and aren’t insecure because their resume isn’t six law degrees from Georgetown.
A life in politics certainly isn’t for everyone. But that first hurdle—of just being given permission to take yourself seriously as a contender—is a giant one. These trainings sound like an awesome way to tell that totally unnecessary self-doubt to get lost.
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